Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane

Jodie Foster's immortal place in American culture is, of course, unquestioned. Even today at 50 she regularly tops Angelina Jolie in polls of Ayn Rand fans for their fantasy cast of Dagny in Atlas Shrugged. Strong, beautiful, self-assured, no contemporary star outshines the lead of such films as Contact, Nell, The Accused and Silence of the Lambs. Foster began work as a child actress in 1968 and by 1975 she starred in two feature films, the very different Freaky Friday and Little Girl who Lives down the Lane. She does play an smart and independent child in each role. Freaky Friday, a Disney film, has been remade several times. But there is only one "Down the Lane." I enjoyed the first, I fell in love with her when I saw the second.

In this film, an homage to film noir, Foster plays a gifted child living alone in a rented New England home. Her nosey landlady Mrs. Hallet and the landlady's pedophile son Frank (Martin Sheen) question her on the absence of her father and otherwise threateningly intrude on her privacy. Foster, used to dealing with adults as an equal, faces a crisis when her landlady dies in a suspicious accident. Foster and her boyfriend hatch a scheme to allay the suspicion of the townfolk. The movie ends with a classic dark resolution of her difficulties with Frank Hallet. This film is a must see both for itself and as a vehicle for Foster. Here is an expository clip from YouTube:

No comments: